Hyderabad: The Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) will soon have more ‘eyes’ to keep a watch on tiger movement as well as poachers with the Forest Department proposing to install 1,000 more camera traps in addition to the existing 1,980.
Tiger movement has been witnessed regularly in Nirmal, Adilabad, Asifabad and Mancherial districts in recent times. Besides, there is regular movement of tigers between Telangana and Maharashtra borders.
Generally, in a tiger reserve, camera traps are installed in two square km grids covering the entire reserve area. Two cameras are installed in opposite ends at strategic locations to capture the images of wild animals from both the ends. Considering all these aspects, there is a requirement for installation of 1,000 more camera traps in the reserve, KTR Field Director CP Vinod Kumar told Telangana Today.
As per the All India Tiger Estimation 2018, there are 26 tigers in Telangana of which, 14 are in Amrabad Tiger Reserve and the rest are in KTR and other places.
KTR officials regularly share information of tiger movement with their counterparts in Maharashtra to ensure their safety and other aspects. Every six months, a meeting is held with Maharashtra forest department officials.
Under its initiatives to ensure growth of tiger population, KTR has been focusing on different aspects including increase in tiger prey population which includes Sambhar, Spotted deer, Nilgai, Wild boars, Chinkaras and other animals. To support the prey base, grasslands have been grown extensively serving the needs of different herbivores. Apart from the naturally grown grasslands in 1,650 hectares, palatable and preferred species of grasslands by herbivores has been cultivated in 750 hectares, he said.
In addition to extensive growth of grasslands, KTR officials are focusing on curbing cattle and human movements in core areas of the reserve. With movement of cattle and human substantially cut down, there has been considerable increase in breeding of herbivores, Vinod Kumar said. “These initiatives have yielded the desired results with the prey population increasing from 9 to 11 individuals per square km to 11-22 individuals per square km. And all this was achieved in the last two and half years” he said.